Written by: Matthew Landus
Published: August 8, 2017 by Sky Pony
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: National Treasure meets Hamilton in a breathless history-based thriller from an outstanding new voice.
Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. . . .
When seventeen year-old Jasper is approached at the funeral of his deadbeat father by a man claiming to be an associate of his deceased parents, he’s thrust into a world of secrets tied to America’s history—and he’s right at the heart of it.
First, Jasper finds out he is the sole surviving descendant of Benedict Arnold, the most notorious traitor in American history. Then he learns that his father’s death was no accident. Jasper is at the center of a war that has been going on for centuries, in which the descendants of the heroes and traitors of the American Revolution still duel to the death for the sake of their honor.
His only hope to escape his dangerous fate on his eighteenth birthday? Take up the research his father was pursuing at the time of his death, to clear Arnold’s name.
Whisked off to a boarding school populated by other descendants of notorious American traitors, it’s a race to discover the truth. But if Jasper doesn’t find a way to uncover the evidence his father was hunting for, he may end up paying for the sins of his forefathers with his own life.
Like a mash-up of National Treasure and Hamilton, Matthew Landis’s debut spins the what-ifs of American history into a heart-pounding thriller steeped in conspiracy, clue hunting, and danger.
This book combined so many things that I absolutely love and I couldn't help but be excited about reading it. I am such a fan of historical mysteries and one involving traitors and the American Revolution is so completely up my alley. And this was definitely a good read but it didn't totally blow me away.
One thing I really liked about League of American Traitors is that it is an extremely plot-driven book. It's a much more thrilling and action-packed book than I expected. There is a lot of tension and drama throughout the book with plenty of narrow escapes, thrilling heroics, and twists and turns along the way. In this way it definitely lives up to the National Treasure comparison. At times it read way more like an action movie than anything else. And honestly, I'm totally cool with that. I am a plot-driven reader. I like my books to slowly build to a thrilling conclusion and that's what this one did.
However, the extreme plot-driven nature of this book was at the detriment of the character development. There was definitely the opportunity here for some coming-of-age heroes journey type plot points but it didn't really quite hit those notes. Or if they did, it was much later in the book than I would have liked it. I think for the most part the characters just didn't jump off the page. I liked the main character of Jasper well enough. I think he was interesting and I definitely connected with him and his sarcastic demeanor. I just felt like his development could have been more pronounced. As for the rest of the characters, they honestly all blended together. I will say, Nora was super interesting. I wanted to know more about her. But all the other characters I kept getting confused by. I couldn't tell who was who and if they should matter. They all just sort of blended together. I did like the references to their historical ancestors though.
Because that was another thing that was really great about this book, the historical references. You can tell this book is written by someone who loves American History, particularly someone who loves the American Revolution. There were all kinds of great and somewhat obscure references to historical figures and even more information about people who we think we know so well. You can tell that the author did his research into the period and the figures he was using. But he also took that and made it into an interesting piece of historical fiction. That is what I love about historical fiction and that is one of the things I really enjoyed here.
I will say however that I think this book is a little bit on the simpler side. That's not a bad thing, it's just not a very complex read. I read it over the course of two days on a family camping trip where I couldn't devote more than a few hours a day to reading. I think if you wanted to, you could easily finish this 240 page read in a day. I would probably say that it's more on the younger side of YA. Middle Grade readers would probably enjoy it a lot as well. But if you are looking for a really complex and intricate YA historical mystery this may not do it for you.
On the whole, League of American Traitors was a good read. It was an action-packed plot driven read with great historical fiction elements. It was a little on the simpler side for YA and I didn't love the characterizations but it was a totally engaging read.
I give League of American Traitors by Matthew Landis 8 out of 10 stars
Have you read League of American Traitors? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!